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1/35 Trumpeter M1126 Stryker

Kit Review

By Patrick Keenan - Aurora, IL USA

Basic Item Information


M1126 Stryker ICV

Stock Number







Injection Molded Plastic, Brass Photo-Etch and Vinyl

Kit Contents

343 Pieces (320 gray plastic, 15 Photo-Etch Brass & 8 Vinyl Tires)

Retail Price

$39.95 USD


Patrick Keenan

Review Date

May 1, 2007

Review Summary*

Review Type

In Box Review/ First Look

Basic Positive Features

First 1/35 Kitted Stryker; Good overall shape and dimensions

Basic Negative Features

Cannot build as vehicle used in Iraq (No Bar Armor); Simplified Detail at times

Overall Rating

3.75 of 5.0

Kit Accuracy Rating


Parts Fit Rating

Not Rated

Parts Casting Quality/ Detail Level Rating


Decals, Marking/ Painting Information Rating


Instructions/Packaging Rating




* For information regarding the review terms, grading scale, etc. please go to the WarWheels Review FAQ/Key






Detailed Review


This review is only an "In Box" or "first Look" review. I've done a rudimentary review where I closely examined the kit parts, instruction sheet, packaging, etc. I've provided comments of my first impressions gathered while viewing the contents. I did NOT construct the kit, but a full build review is forthcoming.

As you may know, the M1126 Stryker is one of the most important and prominent vehicles in use today by the US Military in Iraq.  It provides a lethal combination of good armor protection and offensive power and since it is wheeled, it is mobile and FAST.  Plus, as we’ve seen in the past, operating tracked vehicles is more expensive than “wheelies” and can be worse for public relations.  Tanks = Bad.  Wheeled Fighting Vehicles (WFV’s) are much more media friendly.  Go figure.

Trumpeter has released the first of possibly three 1/35 Stryker models and this review will focus on it.  AFV Club has just released their Stryker and should hit American Shores VERY soon. Also, Dragon is supposedly going to release a 1/35 kit, but so far we’ve not seen anything concrete (i.e. test shots).


Kit Accuracy

The accuracy of the Trumpeter kit is decent, but not great. Also, it really can’t be depicted as current in-service vehicle in Iraq.  Here’s why…

First of all, the vehicles used in Iraq have “bird cage” or bar/slat armor to stop RPG’s (Rifle Propelled Grenades), once the most lethal weapons used by the insurgents.  This kit does NOT come with that option, although I can understand why not.  That is, this bar armor would not be rendered effectively in plastic and would best be supplied in photo-etched form; A lot of it.  The price would be fairly hefty as the entire vehicle is covered by it.  This would probably be best supplied via the aftermarket companies and offered to those of us with a big bank account, or HAVE to have it (me).  I totally forgive Trumpeter for this omission, but I need to mention it so as you all know you can’t model it “in Iraq” and be historically accurate.

Second, the current version of the Stryker has perforated covers over some of the middle and rear suspension.  Trumpeter supplies a smaller solid version of those covers.  This isn’t a huge deal, but it is something fairly obvious when looking at the vehicle.  Note: Trumpeter is releasing a photo-etched detail set in the near future which looks to include these perforated covers, so stay tuned.

Third, the weapons station is missing a few important and prominent details, besides being a bit simplified. Two of the three optic/sighting lenses have a protective lip on the end to protect it from sun glare, debris and rain.  Trumpeter’s Stryker is missing them.  Also, there is a section on the front-center of the ammunition box that has a raised and circular detail part (I have no clue what it is), and it is missing.  Again, these parts should be fairly easy to add to the model, but coupled with the fact that the overall detail level of the weapons station is simplified, I am a bit disappointed.

Fourth and finally, Trumpeter does NOT provide a cable for the winch assembly.  This isn’t normally a problem for most vehicles as a) missing one doesn’t normally negatively impact the appearance of a model and b) it should not provide a problem for most modelers as we can add some cable or string.  However, the cable is a prominent detail on the left side of the Stryker as it starts from about ¼ length down the side of the hull and ends at the front of the vehicle.  To me, it really needs to be there to make the vehicle “look right”. 

The reference material I’ve used to check the kit are Gordon Rottman’s (Osprey) “Stryker Combat Vehicles” (here's a link to my book review), Robert Skipper’s Stryker Photo Reference CD and a number of online sources, specifically the US Army.
Fit of Parts

Not Rated yet.  A detailed build review is forthcoming.


Quality of Casting/ Detail Level of Parts

The quality of the casting of the kit pieces is very good.  There is little to no flash present on the parts, and the smallest pieces are also well cast.  There are a few mold seams and punch-out holes present, but they mostly appear in the hard to see/reach areas, where little or no scraping/filling will be needed.  The only exceptions to these points I’ve made above are that some of the punch-out holes do occur on the back of the hatches and rear door; And that the holes are fairly large and deep.  This will only be a problem if you wish to display your Stryker with the hatches open.  If it is closed up, then this will be a non-issue.  I do have to wonder why these holes are so darn big though…

The detail level of each individual part is good, but not great.  It appears that all the parts are there and the basic shapes look good, but they are a bit light on the detail level.  To me many parts are simplified and not detailed as much as they could be.

The same point goes for what I believe the overall detail level of the kit will be after construction.  The entire thing looks a bit “soft” in detail, although I think it will come out decently enough once the construction is finished, painted and weathered.  I believe that Trumpeter could have done better and this wasn’t their best effort.  With a little more effort, I feel the detail level could have been improved upon.

Finally, one word about the photo-etched detail parts: they are thicker than most other sets from other companies.  That should not pose a problem for most parts as the thicker PE suits them better, specifically the exterior details.  However, in my opinion the pieces representing the engine grill mesh are a bit thick and will look so when done.
Decals, Marking Information and Painting Information

The decals Trumpeter provides look to be of good quality.  Honestly, I’ve never worked with Trumpy decals, so I don’t really know how good they’ll be until I use them.  I will provide more information after I finish the kit.  The decals are printed in register and look sufficiently thin enough to work well.  As the Stryker markings aren’t very flashy, the decals come in two colors; black and tan.  The black represents the numbers-alpha characters and the tan represents the background used for the registration numbers. 

A number of decals are provided to represent specific vehicles.  Also, the license plate decals are designed to use individual letters and numbers so you can design unique plates to fit a large number of vehicles in pretty much any unit you’d like.

The painting & marking guides are one in the same and printed in color.  Five views of one vehicle are used to show where the markings are to be located and the guide is very understandable and can be easily followed.

The problem lies in the fact that no unit designations are given so as to know what units the markings represent.  Plus, Trumpeter gives us endless possibilities for markings/units, yet they don’t tell us how to use all those decals. (e.g. They don’t indicate the individual units).  You’ll definitely need additional resources to figure out which vehicle/unit you’d like to represent when finishing this model.

I believe that kit instructions are one of the most underappreciated, yet most important aspects of hobby modeling.  A bad set of directions can cause unnecessary grief with an otherwise superiorly designed and engineered kit.  On numerous occasions I have struggled with a kit assembly only to figure it out by accident, and then suddenly think, “That was easy once I got it.  Gee, why didn’t company X just show that better in the instructions?”  Trumpeter does not fail in this category; they succeed most ably.

When I first received the Trumpeter Stryker kit and initially glanced through the Trumpeter Stryker instructions, I honestly didn’t have strong feelings one way or another as to their quality.  Nothing bad or great stood out.  However, when I started reviewing them for the purpose of this review, I began to notice that the instruction sheet is VERY well done. 

The drawings themselves aren’t anything special, but the design of the directions is very utilitarian; they appear they will be VERY easy to follow and understand.  The diagrams for each individual step are very specific as to what part goes where.  When practical, Trumpeter includes direction arrows from one piece and goes all the way to another so as to leave no doubt where everything fits.  Sometimes, kit manufacturers include arrows, but they stray off in a general direction and leave much guesswork as to where they go. Unfortunately, sometimes those parts must fit exactly in one place or the other and if they don’t your entire vehicle is “off kilter”. 

Also, Trumpeter provides 29 steps in the instructions to complete the Stryker (7 of which concentrate on the suspension) and that leaves enough room in each step to facilitate ease of understanding. That seems like a lot of steps, but each instruction step is clear and uncluttered.  Some companies knock down the total number of steps to a bare minimum but include way too much in each step to clearly understand what to do. Or they give a zillion sub-steps that further complicate matters.  Some instruction sheets are so confusing I’ll have to take a break from staring and struggling as I end up developing a headache.  It doesn’t look to be the case with Trumpeter’s Stryker.

Trumpeter provides excellent kit packaging and “safety” by providing a box constructed of VERY sturdy cardboard with individual compartments for the upper and lower hulls.  They also follow the practice of bagging all sprues, decals and PE separately. They’ve also included a small cardboard piece to protect the PE fret.

Trumpeter provides the first 1/35 Stryker to us modelers and is a good basic representation of a non-Iraqi theatre Stryker.  There are no major shape or dimensional problems with the kit.  However, there a few accuracy issues and the detail level is simplified/”soft” at times.

The good news is that I’ve learned a few days ago that Trumpeter is coming out with their own “aftermarket” photo etched detail set (#06603) for their Stryker in the near future.  I’ve only seen one small photo of the set, but it appears it will mostly be a detail set (rather than correction set), but it does look like perforated suspension covers will be included.  Sorry, no “bird cage” armor looks to be included.

Thanks to Trumpeter Models for the review sample.


Copyright: Patrick Keenan - May 1, 2007